Quality Manual

Viva Voce Examinations


1. Timing of Viva Voce Examination

The Head of School has overall responsibility for ensuring that viva voce examinations normally take place within 3 months of the submission of the thesis to Student Services (Central Administration Office at UNMC or Graduate School at UNNC), and that the appropriate Office is informed of the dates of viva voce examinations.

2. Location for Viva Voce Examination

The viva voce examination (if required, as will be the case for doctoral degrees) will normally take place at the University. However, the Head of School may give permission in exceptional circumstances for the viva voce examination to be held in another location, provided that the agreement of the Examiners and the student is obtained and the proposed location is one that is deemed by them all to be suitable for the purpose.  Student Services shall be informed when these decisions are made.

3. Format

If circumstances demand it, a viva voce examination may be organised in another form (eg by a video conference).  Before agreeing such an arrangement the School must check that appropriate facilities are available to all participants, and shall ensure they have written confirmation that the student and the Examiners have agreed to the proposal.

4. Appointment of Chair

If Schools wish to do so, an independent, non-examining chair may be appointed to preside over the viva proceedings in order to ensure consistency between different vivas and to provide an additional viewpoint if the conduct of the viva should become the subject of a student appeal. Where the appointment of an independent chair is not feasible, Schools should find alternative ways of assuring fairness and consistency which are acceptable to the student.

5. Attendance at proceedings

With the agreement of the external examiner, the supervisor may be present at the viva voce examination, though s/he will not participate in the proceedings. The Head of School has a right to attend as an observer at the viva voce examination of any research student in his/her School, unless s/he is the student's Supervisor when a deputy should be appointed to attend in his/her place (see paragraph 13 of the Role and Appointment of Examiners for the right to attend as a supervisor). Before the viva voce examination takes place the Head of School should first inform the Examiners, the student and the Supervisor that s/he intends to attend. The Examiners may request that the Head of School attend a viva voce examination.

6. Purpose of Viva

The viva will normally include questions designed to ascertain that the thesis embodies the candidate’s own research. It will test the candidate’s general comprehension of the field of study within which the subject of the thesis falls. It will test the candidate’s acquaintance with the general literature of the subject, knowledge of the relation of the work to the wider field of which it is a part, and the respects in which the work advances, modifies, or otherwise affects this wider field of scholarship.

7. Completion of Joint Report Form

Following the viva voce examination the Examiners will complete and sign the joint report form and shall come to agreement on the recommendation on the award (or not) of the degree. The option not to award any degree following the first examination is one which should only be chosen in extreme circumstances.



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